View of Old Main (and campus) in the 1930s

History of BLC

In 1911, Bethany Ladies College opened with forty-four students and four faculty members, and a mission to educate young women. In 1927 the Norwegian Synod, later known as the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), purchased the college. The ELS operated the school as a co-educational high school and junior college until 1969, when the high school department was closed. Bethany Lutheran Theological Seminary began in 1946 as a department of the college; in 1975 it became a separate institution.

In May 1996, the Board of Regents resolved to start moving Bethany from an associate to a baccalaureate degree-granting institution. In the spring of 2001 Bethany entered a new era in its history by granting its first baccalaureate degrees.

Regardless of these significant changes, Bethany continues to offer a student-centered Christian liberal arts education designed to prepare students for this life and for life in eternity.

Old main from the front
Bethany Archives

See collections of photos, records, and documents from Bethany’s rich history in the BLC Archives. Viewing the archives in person is by appointment only. Call 507-344-7325 or email Bethany Archives

View of Old Main (and campus) in the 1930s
Past Presidents

Since its founding in 1927, Bethany Lutheran College has had ten presidents. The current president is Gene Pfeifer, who was inaugurated in 2015.